SAN DIEGO - A California lawmaker has proposed a bill that bans the sale of Purple Heart medals.
Vietnam veteran Charles Buckner, who supports the bill, said, "Some guys who have Purple Hearts, they don't have legs, they don't have arms. The one thing they do have is their Purple Heart."
The Purple Heart is America's oldest military award, and it is awarded to those wounded or killed in action. It is a symbol of sacrifice, but people have pawned them and pocketed hundreds of dollars.
"It's discouraging to think the American people would do that," Buckner said. "For people to make money off something like that is a disgrace."
The Private Corrado Piccoli Purple Heart Preservation Act would ban the sale of the award. The act is named after an infantryman who was killed in action in 1944. An Army captain found his Purple Heart in 2011 and started Purple Hearts Reunited to get lost medals to their rightful owners.
The foundation has returned more than 300 of the medals.
Rep. Paul Cook introduced the bill, and the cause is close to his heart. The retired Marine colonel has two Purple Hearts.
"They're basically dishonoring what we did," Buckner said. "I mean, that's showing that they don't care … that they don't care about America and what it stands for."
Buckner said America stands for freedom, and sometimes the price is an arm, a leg or a life.
To many, the Purple Heart is proof someone paid that steep price for America.